A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has shown that a fifth of the demands on Police duty in Wiltshire are mental health related incidents.
The report says that the support systems that should be in place to help people with mental health issues are largely failing them, and that “intolerable burden” is being placed on police officers and staff who are often left to pick up the pieces.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire, Angus MacPherson believes that situations involving people with mental health issues should be dealt with by specialised bodies that are equipped to deal with such cases.
According to him, “Around 20 percent of our demand now comes from incidents relating to mental health, and whilst we have a specialist team in our control room, made up of medical professionals, to support staff and officers on the ground this is not the role of the police nor can the police give the right care to those in crisis.
“It is one of my priorities to ensure that officers and staff assisting those in mental health crisis are trained and well supported. But put simply, the police cannot plug the gap in mental health support for those most vulnerable in our society.
“Our officers respond to those with mental health problems with care and compassion but we cannot expect the police service to solve this complex problem alone.”